Dolly Parton is Stashing Away Music to Be Released After Her Death
Dolly Parton believes in having a game plan for every scenario. In fact, she's making plans for what will happen to her enormous catalogue of music -- both released and unreleased -- after she dies.
In the final installment of Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast hosted by Radiolab creator Jad Abumrad, Parton explains that not only does she have a large reserve of songs that haven't yet been heard, but she's thinking of ways to continue to collaborate with other people in the music industry, even after she's no longer living.
"There's enough stuff to go on forever with my music, to do compilation albums, to do, actually, new and original stuff, and I am purposely trying to put songs down for that very purpose," the singer explains. "To have a click track and my vocals, to where any arrangement can be done. So I think ahead."
In other words, Parton is keeping the future of her music open, leaving room for somebody else to come in and finish creating her songs. "Anybody could produce that. Anyone, any producer in the world -- a hot shot producer, when I'm gone, they could take my songs, just the click track of my vocal, and build a complete arrangement around that," she continues. "So that will go on forever."
Parton points out that she's had the chance to see what happens when other musical icons die, leaving legacies behind them. When it's her turn to go, she wants control over her music.
"I'm one of those people that believe in being prepared," the singer relates. "I don't ever wanna leave my stuff in the same shape like Prince, or Aretha [Franklin], or anybody that don't plan ahead."
Parton hopes that she won't be done making music after she dies -- either here on earth, or up in heaven. "As far was what happens after we go on...I'm hoping, just as a Christian faith person, that we go on to a greater thing. I believe that we're all part of that great divine plan, and I'm hoping to get on up there and do some more writing and singing. Play with those golden harps and write some more songs and have my own mission, and walk them golden streets of glory and keep doing it forever and ever and ever," she muses.
Still, the singer isn't ruling out other possibilities. "I really don't know where we go. I don't know if there's such a thing as reincarnation. I kind of believe all that stuff. I'm just open to things," she continues.
"You don't really know. You just hope, and you have faith. That's what faith is," adds Parton. "I think it's not the end of me. I don't think it's the end of any of us. I think we're recycled, and if nothing else, we just go back into that great flow of divine energy, and hopefully we can spread ourselves around in other wonderful ways."
As for her fans here on earth, Parton says she hopes that when all the other aspects of her persona have faded, the music will remain. "I hope my music will be left behind. I hope it will always live," she says. "I think a lot of that other stuff may fall away. But I would like to think that I've left some good pieces of music."